Commissioner Franz on national issues

Withdraw proposal to open our continental shelf to oil and gas leasing

Given the danger offshore drilling poses to our environment and economy, I do not foresee how any proposal to use our aquatic lands to service offshore wells is in the best interests of Washington State. This includes any pipelines, cables or other oil and gas infrastructure that would cross state-owned aquatic lands. I urge you (Interior Secretary Zinke) to withdraw your proposal to open our continental shelf to oil and gas leasing, and provide Washington the same exemption you provided the state of Florida.

Franz joins with other Washington leaders to oppose Trump Administration's off-shore drilling plan

We’re raising our collective voice to tell the Trump administration ‘hands off Washington’s waters.’ Washington State did not ask for off-shore drilling and we do not want off-shore drilling in our state. Protecting our coastal communities is protecting our way of life and we will stand together and fight to make sure this (offshore drilling) doesn’t happen.
Watch a replay of the Feb. 5, 2018, press conference on TVW  (Commissioner Franz' remarks begin at 00:10:23; additional remarks at: 00:37:42)

Access fee increase wrong for National Parks, Washington

Increasing access fees for national parks, particularly Washington's Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks would be harmful to our state. Higher entrance fees to address a maintenance backlog will limit the public’s ability to visit national parks and harm rural economies. Instead, sources of stable funding should be pursued, including the National Park Service Legacy Act of 2017, a bipartisan measure sponsored by 12 senators and 54 representatives that dedicates funding from federal mineral leases to maintain national parks. 

Congress should reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program

Congress should reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program before adjourning for the holidays. The program, which provides vital assistance to school districts and rural counties affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on federal land, has provided funding to 215 school districts Washington State. The Secure Rural Schools program helps fund repairs, classroom construction and other needed infrastructure for public schools in rural areas.

National Monuments need continued preservation

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and our state recognize the importance of unique lands that have cultural, historical, ecological or scientific value. There is immeasurable value in these public lands. They feeds us, keeps our water and air clean, host our nation’s rarest wildlife and plant species, and ensure we remember our wars, our achievements and even our failures. Our state lands and our national monuments create a sense of pride for communities. They also create recreation and economic opportunities. To sustain and grow these jobs and local economies, it is critical to protect these public lands from conversion to conflicting uses.

U.S. should keep Paris Climate Agreement commitment

Economic activity on our state's public lands, such as logging, agriculture and shellfish farming, generated $162 million last year in net distributions to our education system and local county services. Without a doubt, the greatest threat to continuing to fulfill this mission is climate change. Washington is already experiencing climate change impacts, and every reasonable forecast tells us those impacts will only grow more severe in the coming years. These impacts pose unacceptable long-term risks to our state's economic viability and quality of life and the U.S. should keep the commitment made in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Proposed federal budget creates concern

The President's proposed federal budget undercuts Washington’s environment, economy and culture. Such reductions would threaten Puget Sound, discontinue important research and risk Washington’s shellfish industry. Inadequate funding for forest protection continues to ignores today’s mega fire reality. Congress should reject the unnecessary and drastic spending cuts put forth and pass a federal spending plan that honors the promises our federal government has made to the people of our state.